Skill funds lie unspent for last 3 years, scheme to train people short of target
Out of the roughly 5.5 million trained, only 4.2 million were satisfied and finally 1.3 million got jobs till July 2019, according to the report of the standing committee on labour.Updated: Dec 15, 2019 01:07 IST
The Union skill development ministry has not spent its entire budget for the last three years and a key scheme to train people has achieved just 49% of its training target, a parliamentary panel report has said.
According to the report of the standing committee on labour, the Centrally Sponsored Centrally Managed (CSCM) component of the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) “had a target to train 11,076,167 people, but only 5,761,570 could be enrolled out of which 5,446,975 could be trained.”
Out of the roughly 5.5 million trained, only 4.2 million were satisfied and finally 1.3 million got jobs till July 2019, the report added.
The PMKVY is one of the flagship programmes of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government and was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 15, 2015. After training over 1.9 million candidates in 375 job roles in the first year, the Union Cabinet extended the scheme for another four years (2016-2020) to impart skills to 10 million young people in the country with an outlay of Rs12,000 crore.
The CSCM includes short-term training — 200-500-hour long skill-oriented training at PMKVY affiliated- and accredited-training centres to school and college drop-outs or those who are unemployed.
It also includes “recognition of prior learning” or “recognition of existing skills”, which is a 12-to-80 hour orientation-cum-bridge course following which PMKVY certificates are given to candidates.
A third initiative is special projects, which provide skill-oriented training in specialised areas and jobs such as in prisons, juvenile centres. Some of these also include training with employment guarantee with textile associations and mortgage firms.
The scheme’s performance suggests a lukewarm response, which also coincides with reports of job losses across sectors in the wake of a sluggish economy.
The skill ministry, however, told the House panel that a total of 6.64 million candidates have been trained in all components of the scheme as of October 18, 2019. But the committee noted that it was “not convinced in view of the meagre number of candidates certified and given placement”.
Panel chairman, BJD’s Bhartruhari Mahtab told HT, “So far, the training scheme has not achieved satisfactory results. But what we gathered from the government is that from 2020, the third phase of Skill India will start. States will be given more responsibilities and major loopholes will be plugged. We also want skill schemes conducted individually by different ministries should be brought under the umbrella of the skill development ministry.”
When contacted, an official associated with the skill ministry said: “The ministry is confident of achieving at least 90% of its targets. The new phase of the skill programme will see much better results.”
The committee’s report, submitted to both Houses of Parliament, said in 2016-17, the skill development ministry spent Rs1,553.09 crore against the budget allocation of Rs1,804.28 crore, which was revised upward to Rs 2,173 crore in the supplementary demand for grants.
Similarly, in FY 2017-18, the budget estimate (BE) was Rs 3,016.14 crore, which was revised downwards to Rs 2,356.22 and the actual expenditure was Rs 2,118.02.
For the year 2018-19, the BE of Rs 3,400 crore was scaled down at RE stage to Rs 2,820.06 crore and the actual expenditure stood at Rs 2,617.32 only.
“It can be seen that for three consecutive years, the ministry could neither fix realistic BE nor could fully utilise the RE funds,” the panel said.
Ministry officials cited various reasons for funds being under-utilised to the panel, including lack of staff to oversee essential function, late finalisation of agreement with implementation partners, and delays in release to states under the PMKVY since they did not submit utilisation certificates in time.
Achirangshu Acharya, economist with Visva Bharati University said, “The government has to find new ways and means to make Skill India a successful programme. It also must coordinate closely with industries for giving training that is relevant to job markets.”